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The time for partisan bullshit is over, Josh – give it up

Less than four weeks ago, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was still singing his own praises:

“Australia approaches the challenges ahead from a position of economic strength with the Coalition Government’s economic plan and responsible budget management contributing to the resilience of the Australian economy.”

Under the Coalition’s “responsible budget management”, net debt has increased from $161,253 million at 31 August 2013, a week before the election, to $424,164 million at the end of February this year.

Remember when the Coalition screamed blue murder about Labor increasing the debt ceiling to $300 billion?

Well, gross debt as of the end of last week was $579.2b with another $4.1 billion of AGS to be issued this week alone.

Before the bushfires and coronavirus hit, the economy was weak.

Real GDP grew by 1.9 per cent in 2018-19, softer than the 3 per cent growth forecast in the 2018-19 Budget, and the Wage Price Index increased by 2.3 per cent, below the 2¾ per cent growth forecast in the 2018-19 Budget.

Job creation was only keeping up with population increase and underemployment was emerging as a significant problem.

When asked by Leigh Sales about how the Coalition had blasted Labor’s stimulus package during the GFC, Frydenberg replied that he is “not looking backwards” – there will be no admitting fault.

Still stuck in slogan land, Coalition language is changing.

We have gone from a “targeted, modest and scalable” response to “targeted, measured and scalable” and now Frydenberg is calling for “quick, strong and co-ordinated action” from the G20 countries.

The self-satisfied smirks, the ridiculing of the idea of well-being, and the draconian persecution of the unemployed have disappeared.

After more than a decade of their bullshit, all of a sudden, “we are all in this together”.


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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    And still reminding us they brought down a balanced (?) budget, though not reminding us of the “surplus”. But ah the schadenfreude of seeing them eating crow as their neoliberal principles are shredded. And come election time we have to remember that every economy and people-protecting measure they have put in place was proposed by either Labor or the Unions and required them to be dragged reluctantly, belatedly and foot-draggingly to the table. We cannot see them re-elected, their recipe for the recovery would be extreme.

  2. Peter F

    “We cannot see them re-elected, their recipe for the recovery would be extreme.” Sorry, WILL be extreme. I no longer have faith in my fellow Australians.

  3. nonsibicunctis

    Couldn’t have said it better, myself. Neither will I ever understand why any woman [Gina Rinehart & her like excepted] who has self respect and respect for her gender, would support the Coalition, let alone become a party member and stand for election.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Yes RC. Apparently a deficit of $700 million isn’t worth mentioning. In total, their deficits from 2013-14 to 2018-19 add to $170 billion. And they keep saying that any increases to Newstart etc will be “wound back” when this is over. They are also determined to go ahead with their tax cuts and are refusing to look at negative gearing, capital gains tax or franking credits. As you say, all the measures they are putting in place had been suggested to them and rejected. But they sure as hell haven’t given up their neoliberal principles.

  5. Kronomex

    ““We cannot see them re-elected, their recipe for the recovery would be extreme.” Sorry, WILL be extreme. I no longer have faith in my fellow Australians.”

    I don’t mean, then again maybe I do, to disparage the average ‘strayan but stupidity and ignorance and Rupert will probably see them get back in again if we aren’t a full on dictatorship by then. I nearly forgot to mention apathy as well.

  6. Lawrence S. Roberts

    While the debt to G.D.P. looked good in comparison to other O.E.C.D. countries Australians have been carrying the highest personal debt on record. The product of stagnant wage growth. There could be grounds for a moratorium on Bank and Credit Card debt. National Debt being carried by individuals.
    If this Mob is still with us at the end of this dress rehearsal, I hate to think what the austerity package might look like.

    Show Us The Money Scomo!

  7. Kaye Lee


    One of my employees posted on facebook her admiration for Trump’s “success in smashing pedophile rings”. I was gobsmacked. People are in a weird non-truth world. I’m a maths person to whom truth is very important. Unfortunately, evidence is irrelevant nowadays.

  8. 3poodles

    ALP lost an unlosable election, mainly because of the shorten element, voters did not like him. If ALP had spine, they would elevate sally Mc and wong as leader and deputy, both intelligent, honest, empathy, and a conscience. Both have no baggage to the best of my recollections, as a team they would “lead” australia to the envy of many countries. Truth/honesty is what voters are craving for, even if it’s going to hurt.

  9. Peter F

    3 P, a wider perspective might include some $60m spent by a mining ‘magnate’.

  10. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee,

    I’m wondering that when she said “pedophile rings” if she meant groups of people with a fetish for bicycle pedals.

  11. Win Jeavons

    3 poodles. The unthinking were told Shorten was unlikable, so they voted for a man who smirks, lies , rorts shamelessly, and tries to exploit God for his selfish ends. I know who I would prefer to have to dinner! Shorten has shown dignity in defeat, empathy where called for and real vision for our future. Apparently too many Australians are gullible myopic suckers.

  12. Dave G.

    Like you Peter I no longer trust the political judgement of the majority of voters.Labor even with reasonable policy has to overcome the relentless Murdoch media with it’s lies & false news&the raving shock jocks, the average punter is now so brainwashed the myth of the Libs economic brilliance is indelibly implanted in their brain.Will the virus aftermath set them thinking? I doubt it.

  13. guest

    Mention Trump and we cannot believe this man who claims to be a bigly genius now hoping the coronavirus will be gone in the US by Easter. Meanwhile, experts claim modelling shows deaths in the US from coronavirus could be anywhere between 100, 000 and 240,000.

    Greg Sheridan has his say about the huge but necessary financial intervention which will be in need of a new Coalition narrative. (“Coronavirus: Centre-right in need of a new narrative”, The Australian, 31/3/20). It could change the narrative for ever, he writes. “Small government, free markets and and less state intervention” – gone?
    He writes of “national capacity” to produce and build infrastructure and to get away from “dependence on China”. Good luck with that. There has been much talk in right-wing corners about sovereignty and not relying on or cooperating with other sovereignties or entities such as the UN which they see as an global empire builder trying to rule the world.

    He asks us to consider this: “in three weeks the Morrison government could mobilise more than $320bn for a national crisis, but it took the Adani group eight years to get a licence for a coalmine that both sides of federal parliament always believed served the national and security interest.”

    So there we have something, some hint about the future narrative. Coal! And see how Labor has always supported it. Thank you Labor (?)

    Meanwhile, India says it will not import coal after 2023-24. Goodbye, Adani.

    And one last thing. “Senior ministers are determined to cut through “green lawfare” that has paralysed so much development.”

    Sounds like Sheridan has not much to offer, really, by way of a future narrative. More likely more austerity for the “leaners”, more subsidies for the “lifters” and business as usual, death of the environment.

  14. Henry Rodrigues

    Labor didn’t lose the ideas campaign, they lost the stupid voters who swallowed Murdoch’s bullshit and that of the rest of the corrupt media. Shorten is a man of principle but the voters prefer a bullshitter who smirks, tell lies, believes in miracles and is generally a useless piece of shit. So much for the intelligent ‘aussie’ voter, reputedly able to cut through all the crap. Not this time, though.

  15. Kaye Lee


    I was at uni with Tony Abbott and Sheridan was one of the hangers-on – one of the nobodies who would stand back and giggle as Abbott attacked people. They were inconsequential non-entities then and they remain so. They repeat mantras learned at Young Liberal meetings and just cannot move to critical appraisal of said mantras. They never grew up.

  16. Ivo Edwards

    How about if we give up on the idea of 12 new submarines at cost of $80 billion plus, in these dark days?. Excuse me, but I consider possible underwater enemies to be a bit irrelevant in these days of invisible enemies above water? Times change, but politician’s commitments seem very resistant to that?. An aerosol spray can of virus particles can easily bring us to our knees from anyone with a mental problem, a grudge against government, or a terrorism intent.

  17. Frank Smith

    Nations have no problems committing hundreds of billions of dollars to “defence” in the form of warships, submarines, aircraft, tanks, bombs, weapons of war, “intelligence”, etc. Yet there is little forward planning or advanced expenditure on “defence” against major health crises. There have been warnings of serious global pandemics for decades, but no stockpiling of “weapons” like PPE gear, a true first class public health system and the essential research capacity to defend against these unseen enemies. I read that a 69-page manual on the subject was shown to Trump when he took Office, but was immediately dismissed as an Obama initiative so promptly relegated to the bottom shelf. And of course our own bunch of incompetents withdrew 80 billion dollars from health and education upon assuming Government in 2016, but committed the country to hundreds of billions expenditure on submarines, warships, fighter planes that barely fly and the development of an arms manufacturing industry within Australia. Oh, “How good is that?” What April Fools Aussie voters have been – conned by liars, rorters, cheats, Clive Palmer and the Murdoch Press. Chickens coming home to roost, perhaps!

  18. Harry Lime

    Hey folks,it’s always about the MONEY.

  19. guest

    Kaye Lee,

    Sheridan still refers to Abbott occasionally. Here he seems to be parroting Abbott and the idea of Oz being an independent fully industrial country.

    As for the idea that “we are all in this together”, not quite. Chris Mitchell, in his “Public getting a bit sick of journalists grandstanding in COVID-19 coverage”, Australian, 30/3/20, has a shot at “catastrophic journalists” who for example make comparisons with Italy.

    He writes: “Easier than researching complex media literature, they stick with the old conflict model of reporting: find a doctor who disagrees with the government and report the ‘he said, she said’ conflict of opinion.”

    Now there is a wonderful irony in this claim. He says much the same later: “[Many of the media’s big egos] need to think about a different kind of reporting, less based on political conflict.”

    Yet the adversorial, belligerent mode of journalistic scribbling is the very kind employed across the board in Murdoch media. Think ‘alarmist’ and ‘catastrophic’ with regard to those who speak about the dangers of climate change.

    The vitriol against is some journalists who ask questions about what is happening in Oz with regard to the virus. In particular, Fran Kelly on RN who asked Greg Hunt why he is not going to lockdown, which had been suggested by 22 health professionals but not suggested by government advisers. Apparently Kelly took the first third of her ‘confrontational interview” (what, a couple of minutes?) attacking Hunt.

    Whereas, Chris Kenny “showed how to get the best out of Hunt and his viewers were better informed for it.”
    He adds, “RN is meant to be the ABC’s serious current affairs offering, not a shock jock station.”

    Of course Mitchell knows all about shock jocks. At least two of them, Bolt and Jones, rubbished the idea of COVID-19 as being a pandemic, but later retracted. Jones fled to his rural retreat in the Southern Highlands to conduct his broadcasting.

    As for Chris Kenny, whom Mitchel praised for his research skills in looking at wild fires in Oz, he is the one who decided that judging the severity of a bushfire can be done by counting the number of fatalities in the fire. By that measure, the recent 2019-20 fires were by no means “unprecedented”. Ho hum.

    Meanwhile, Bolt has been apparently asking Professor Hilton, director of Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall, about hydroxychloroquine, a possible treatment for the virus, reported in the WE Australian.
    Clive Palmer has been advertising the possibility of his supplying this vaccine with a yellow double-page spread in the said newspaper.

    One begins to wonder, just who is doing the grandstanding?

  20. Kaye Lee


    Unfortunately, I have a family connection to Chris Mitchell and have had to endure him at family gatherings. He sits there and holds court – no other opinions to be aired. He is badly feeling relevance deprivation, not that he was ever relevant. But he says things with such confidence that he intimidates others into silence. I have seen family members who are very intelligent and competent in their own fields defer to him because of his supposed (previous) “stature”. I could tell you some personal things about him but I won’t. He is a paper tiger who can’t deal with his own life let alone tell the rest of us what to think. A very inadequate legend in his own very inadequate mind.

    As for Chris Kenny, I think his son summed him up best.

    In Defence Of The Chaser’s False Depiction Of My Dad Having Sex With Dog

  21. Frank Smith

    “There are indications we are flattening the curve.” Maybe amongst those you have been tested – people arriving from overseas and their contacts. BUT, you have not permitted testing of asympotic Aussies who have not fitted into those categories (due to lack of sufficient testing kits). So how could anyone know anything about the number of untested and infected people circulating in the community and infecting other people. Social distancing remains the best strategy, but let’s not attemp to get ahead of the curve at this stage.

  22. MrFlibble4747

    As my beloved Nanna White would say “If the God botherers want to pray when the shit hits the fan, just tell them to “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”

    Which roughly translated is “Do something practical whilst waiting for the Miracle!”

  23. Andrew Smith

    guest: I think Sheridan has lost the plot and/or has an obsession in serving his master Murdoch, exemplified by his spruiking of a national socialist state (dominated by the 1%) with a white nationalist Christian culture.

  24. New England Cocky

    An excellent article Kaye Lee. Unfortunately for Australian voters too many COALition politicians lack mathematical skills. Just look at our failed professional tennis player masquerading as Federal Treasurer; why in tennis they count “15, 30, 40, game” which bears no relationship to accounting numbers in any sense of the word.

  25. Kaye Lee

    Frydenberg has also made another shift in language. Instead of talking about debt anymore, he has latched onto saying “we inherited a $48.5 billion deficit.”

    This is, of course, also crap.

    The deficit when they took over was $10.5 billion. The independent PEFO in August 2013 projected a deficit for 2013-14 of $30.1 billion. It was the Coalition’s actions which blew that out to $48.5 billion eg Joe Hockey’s gift of $8.8 billion to the RBA.

    This reframing is deliberate because they don’t want you to compare the debt. It annoys the shit out of me that they think we are so stupid as to not notice.

  26. Henry Rodrigues

    Regarding the “deficit”, unfortunately Kaye Lee the ‘aussie’ voter is too stupid to notice, and these numb skulls get away with their lies. See how avidly they add the daily Telegraph to their shopping trolley, like its some sort of live saving must have item. Worse than stupid, brain dead.

  27. Jon Chesterson

    FOOLS AND BULLIES – Josh and Scotty are leaders of a bunch of malicious school boys – Take a look at the picture, look at those front bench mocking faces. They haven’t changed, they are hiding it just like they are now hiding their gross mismanagement of the economy and abuse of society behind the self congratulatory spending smiles (well announcements at least, whether the money appears in the right places if at all is another matter) that will supersede and cloak their past behaviour, but not the consequences to the wellbeing of our country and people. I am certain they take great relish in hiding their abuse, breathing a sigh of relief behind closed doors saying, like every school boy smirk and bully does, we are champion, we will get away with this; girls too, all who believe they are better than everyone else and were born to rule, without the bones and morals to do so.

    We’d all be fools to think otherwise!

  28. Regional Elder

    3 Poodles
    It took $85 million from Clive Palmer and another $30 million grant from the Morrison government to Murdoch’s NewCorp, ostensibly for the increased televising of women’s sport, a timely donation about 6 months prior to the 2019 election, and on top of Abbott’s earlier cynical attempt to seriously sully Bill Shorten through the Royal Commission into Corruption.

    You could conclude that the LNP winning the 2019 election was validation of the ‘ You can’t trust Shorten ‘ message ( Remember ‘ The Bill We Cant Afford’ ) , but analysis of the figures suggest something different.

    According to The AEC final results, the ALP won in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, the N.T. evenly split in S.A and Tasmania. The difference was in the mining states, W.A. and in Queensland, where the ALP won just 6 of the 30 MHR seats there.

    And where was Clive Palmer’s campaign most concentrated ? : Queensland
    And which international company has a stranglehold over print media in Queensland, particularly in the regional areas ?

    So Queensland voters became political pawns of Big Mining and Big Media in their united corporate quest to preserve their own commercial interests, and keep a Shorten government out.

    And thus, the rest of Australia has been placed in hock to the poor excuse of a government we now have, courtesy of Queensland voters who manipulated by Big Money, and by the lies and no policy alternatives promulgated relentlessly by Morrison from Marketing, decided they ‘ didn’t like Bill Shorten’ .

    I certainly would have more trust in Bill Shorten and a government led by him, than the OCD-driven corporate money grabbers who opposed him, and the political puppet mal-administration they have fanned their appreciation for, the deceitful and cruel Morrison government.

  29. andy56

    really? they will lose the next election? Because they lied? Because they caused all sorts of trauma and then backflipped?
    They should be in gaol for letting the Ruby in. Criminal Hubris i say. We stopped the boats from china and blissfully unaware in our arrogant way that others could be carriers. You know, you cant trust chinese people but you can trust others. Racism, first hand.
    Now the handouts start. These guys have shown their hand. Lie lie lie and do anything to get power and then to stay in power. If they were true to their word, we would be in serious trouble. The fact they have jumped ship shows how desparate they are to hang on.
    True some of the measures are good, but really, the hang man has suddenly developed a conscience? Its just a stay of execution . When this is over the hangman will get back to work. . My bet is that he will screw us big time to prove his ideology is best.
    History has shown that after every major disaster of this scale, it takes many years to get back and many will never reach the same levels. How generous will the lnp be then

  30. wam

    Beauty, Kaye,
    Any clues as to why the slogans ‘labor’s debt’ and remember ‘whitlam’ were so destructive??? Oh sorry the morning shows are not that influential
    Perhaps henry sets the scene? Labor idiots who are too stupid to understand the economy but are intelligent enough to accept the lnp slogans or to be frightened out of voting for labor by lnp lies because they have no labor answers no come back or by well timed disingenuous pictures and biased reporting or by adverts?
    Is nov 2013 (a clue – Government strikes deal with Greens to scrap debt ceiling .) as to how the rabbott et al got their hands on unlimited cash?
    Thanks boobby
    Am I the only one incensed by the slogan [labor and the greens’?

  31. Kaye Lee


    I can understand why Labor politicians/members sometimes get angry with the Greens – they are competing for the same vote. But for those of us who aren’t into party politics it is hugely frustrating that progressives can’t co-operate. What I have observed is that everyone comes around to Greens policies eventually – they show where we should be going and the major parties take their time catching up.

    And yes, I still think the morning shows with their miniscule audiences are a waste of time for anyone genuinely interested in politics. Karl Stefanovic FFS? Why would I waste my time? He’s a fool. With a chance to interview the Dalai Lama, the best he could come up with was a pizza joke? I still cringe.

  32. andy56

    yes well somebody close to me said, ” i couldnt vote for shorten, i dont trust him so i voted liberal.” Two days ago, ” that rotten bastard Morrison”. Voters are dumb as dog shit, face it.

  33. wam

    Kaye the greens said last year that voting with the rabbott was wrong were you aware of their 10 years of denying that obvious fact??
    in december 2013 the greens under milne removed the limit on borrowing releasing unlimited billions to the lnp. I consider that vote to be the second most disastrous green decision. what do you think of that vote any idea what the quid pro quo was to milne?? Do you think access to unlimited cash has helped maintain this government?
    Tolkein=like to tie the rings together any idea how the greens got $3 million extra????

    yes andy shorten was being straight and honest so mistrusted smirko lied through his effing teeth and is trusted.

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